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Pet articles

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Arthritis is a slow progressive condition affecting one or more joints and it is fairly common in older pets especially if they are overweight. Research shows that 90% of cats will have arthritis by the age of 12, and 20% dogs will eventually develop arthritis.

Arthritic changes were visible in both of Roxy’s elbows and her left hip joint. Roxy was in a chronic cycle of pain which made her less active, less interactive and contributed to her weight gain. There is no treatment to reverse arthritis. We follow a strict protocol to slow down the degeneration of the joints and to help the pet live a more comfortable life.

Roxy joined our Pet Slimmer program in March with Sr Cindy. Her diet was changed to the Hill’s Metabolic plus Mobility diet. This diet not only supports her joints but also assists in losing excessive bodyweight responsible for placing additional pressure on her already sensitive joints. Dr Suzie started Roxy on weekly Pentosan injections in addition to the pain medication that Roxy was already on.


Pentosan is known to help with:

* Stopping the ongoing breakdown process of the joint cartilage,

* Clearing the blockages in blood vessels so nutrition can be delivered directly to the joints and

* Stimulating the body’s production of cartilage, joint lubricant and anti-oxidants.

Read more on how Hill’s j/d can improve your pet’s arthritis

Thinking of emigrating?

We at Bakenkop Animal clinic want our patients to stay here with us, but if you are thinking of emigrating here are a few points to keep in mind.

Start earlyPlane-flying-away-1. Depending on the country, there are many hoops to jump through and these take time.

For veterinary health certification all countries require positive identification of the animal with a microchip.  Most countries require vaccination and blood tests. Unfortunately this is only valid after the insertion of a microchip.  For this reason we recommend microchipping as a standard for all puppies.

Every country has its own set of requirements for pets entering their country. It is best to either contact the country directly for import requirements or work through one of the export companies.

There are companies that specialize in export of pets and they help to take the stress out of the whole ordeal. They can organise the state veterinarian aspect as well as the actual flight. We highly recommend that you work through one of these companies from the very start of the process.

  1. Keringa/petwings:   011 976 3030
  2. Global paws :  0879970540
  3. Petport : 011 965 6397

We as the private veterinarian can help you with microchipping, vaccinations, blood tests and filling in of health certificates.  It remains your responsibility to organise and make sure that tests and vaccinations are done at the correct times based on the countries requirements.

If you need an export consultation, please phone to make an appointment with Dr Anya Kleinhans, or Dr Kate de Klerk Mondays to Fridays.

Lumps and Bumps


There is nobody in this world who doesn’t know somebody in their family or circle of friends who has cancer. It is a scary disease, because even tough you can try and protect yourself as much as possible it can happen to anyone….. And our beloved pets are no exception.

Prevention is better than cure — we do not have blood tumor markers in veterinary science but we have many imaging modalities and laboratory tests to try and catch this insidious invasive often-deadly disease as early as possible.


Pic 3In our clinic we can do radiographs, comprehensive blood profiles, blood smears and ultrasound examinations of the chest and abdomen to try and detect any abnormality as soon as possible.

If we see any abnormal structure we can do a Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA) and look at the cells under a microscope to try and identify the pathology and to make the decision for further surgical intervention.

The skin is the largest organ in the body and the most visible. We touch our animals every single day and therefore often find a “lump or a bump” that wasn’t there before.



A sugar substitute fit for humans, which can be lethal to your dog

White rectangular Chewing gums on blue

White rectangular Chewing gums on blue.

What is xylitol and where can it be found?

Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that is commonly used as a sugar substitute in human foods. It is found in and extracted from corn fiber, birch trees, hardwood trees as well as other fruits and vegetables.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute most commonly found in chewing gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, cough syrup, children’s edible vitamins, mouth wash and tooth paste (all of the sugar free variety). There are many more human products on the market that may contain xylitol. It may also be purchased in a granulated form to be used for baking, or as a sweetener over cereals and in beverages. As society’s pressure to look lean and slim, and the need to diet increases, this sugar free alternative has grown drastically in popularity over the last decade. Continue reading

Lameness in old dogs

two senior german shorthaired pointers, nine year old females

two senior german shorthaired pointers, nine year old females

As a dog gets older, he or she may start to struggle to get up or get a little slower on walks. You may notice that they are worse in winter than in summer or after resting for a prolonged period. Sometimes they may not to be able to place any weight on a leg at all and this may happen quite suddenly. Lameness in older dogs can be broadly placed in three categories:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Trauma and infection.

Continue reading

Lameness in young dogs

puppy old english bulldog in front of white background

puppy old english bulldog in front of white background

Getting home to find your puppy or young dog not placing weight on a leg is always a concern. There are many different reasons why a young dog may limp, some more serious than others. Causes of lameness can be broadly placed into three different categories:

  • Lameness due to trauma
  • Developmental and congenital (inherited) lameness
  • Infectious causes of lameness and cancer

Because the causes of lameness can be so wide and varied, it is important to have your puppy looked at by the veterinarian sooner rather than later when you notice any signs of limping or lameness.  Continue reading


Proptosis is defined, as the forward displacement of the globe (eyeball) out of the socket, with the eyelids trapped behind the globe.

Proptosis is an ophthalmic emergency. Any suspected trauma to your pet’s eye warrants a visit to your veterinarian immediately.

Let us first have a look at the normal eye anatomy:

Normal eye - Proptosis

Predisposing factors: Breed predisposition

Proptosis is a condition more commonly seen in Brachycephalic breeds (dogs with prominent bulging eyes, short noses and shallow eye sockets). Pekingese, Pug, Boston terrier and Shihtzu are over represented.

Common Causes

  • Trauma is the most common cause of proptosis. In small breed dogs this often occurs during a fight with a larger dog, wherein the larger dog bites over the scruff on the neck and starts shaking the smaller dog. The pulling of the skin back over the head allows for the eye to pop forward, out of the socket. Bite wounds directly to the face could also result in proptosis of one or both eyes but this is very rare.
    • Blunt trauma to the face or head, often seen when hit by a car.
    • Brachycephalic breeds have very shallow eye sockets, and very large openings of the eyelids, in these breeds even mild manual restraint can result in proptosis.
    • Space occupying lesions behind the globe e.g. tumours located behind the eyeball, applying pressure and pushing the globe forward.

Clinical signs

Often the first thing noticed by owners is a very prominent eye where the eyelids are unable to blink over the eyeball (globe).

Other signs include:

  • Swelling and inflammation of the tissue/muscles surrounding the proptosed globe
  • Bleeding inside the eye
  • Abnormal pupil (it may be dilated or constricted)
  • Rupture of the globe
  • Rupture of the muscles around the globe, the eye then deviates outward. These muscles are responsible for keeping the globe in place and are responsible for movement of the eye.

Proptosis needs to be distinguished from

  • Bupthalmia: Enlargement of the eyeball (globe), often caused by Glaucoma or a tumour in the eye.
  • Exopthalmia: Abnormal protrusion of the globe forward, the size of the eyeball remains normal it is just the positioning that changes. Often caused by tumours behind the globe, abcesses in the tissues surrounding the eye or bleeding behind the globe.

What to do when you notice your pet’s eye has proptosed?

  1.  Keep the proptosed eye moist. You can use lubricating human eye drops, or sterile water, try not to use tap water as tap water contains micro-organisms which can be detrimental to eye health.
  2. If you have an old Elizabethan collar you should put it on your dog as a proptosed eye is very painfull and your dog will try to rub it or scratch at it using its paw. The Elizabethan collar will therefore aid in limiting further trauma to the proptosed eye.
  3. Do not give your pet any human pain medication or anti-inflammatories, your vet will treat it as soon as it arrives at the practice with the correct medication at the correct dosage.

ProptosisPresentation to the vet

Your pet will be assessed for any other injuries or possible complications; this is a very important step especially if the cause of the proptosis was an accidental hit by car. The patient must be stable before any surgery can be attempted.

The vet will then examine both eyes to assess the extent of injury.

The vet will look at the cornea (thin see-through layer) by staining it with fourecein to determine if there are any cuts or scratches on the surface of the eye (this stain changes color from orange to green if there are any cuts or scratches on the cornea). Then also the muscles, skin and nerves (optic nerve) attached to the eye will be examined

Based on the severity of the injury two treatment options exist, either replacement of the eye back into the socket or enucleation (surgical removal of the proptosed eye).

The prognosis for vision in the affected eye is always poor and is often dependant on the extent of the trauma to the eye and how soon treatment is started. Even if vision is lost, rapid response could aid in salvaging the eye for cosmetic reasons.

When the patient is stable enough they are placed under general anesthesia.

If the eye can be salvaged it is lubricated and placed back into the eye socket. Sometimes an incision is made on the outer edge of the eyelid to allow more space and make replacement of the eye easier. They eyelids are then stitched closed – this procedure is called a temporary tarsorrhaphy. Often times the vet will dispense eye drops that needs to be applied daily, this promotes healing of the cornea. The stitches are removed after two weeks and the function of the eye is reassessed to determine if the vision in the eye was affected or not.

If an enucleation is required, the globe is removed, blood vessels and nerves are tied-off and excessive tissue is also trimmed away. The eyelids are permanently stitched closed.

In both instances the patient is sent home with pain medication and an Elizabethan collar to prevent further trauma to the surgical site.

The thought of imagining a beloved pet with only one eye is very distressing and traumatic to owners, but most often these patients recover really quickly and do lead normal happy lives.

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Breeding with your dog

puppies cavalier king charles in front of white background

puppies cavalier king charles in front of white background

Understanding the female’s cycle

A female dog will only come into heat for the first time between the age of seven months and anytime up to a year of age. Occasionally this period may be longer. The age at which they first come into heat is governed by a combination of factors but usually smaller breeds start at a slightly younger age than the larger breeds. This is by no means a set rule as there is a great variation. Once she has started to cycle, a female dog will then come into heat every 4 to 7 months but your giant breed dogs may only cycle once every 12 to 18 months. It can take up to 2 years for them to develop regular cycles. Once started the heat cycle can last 2 to 3 weeks. There are two main parts to a female’s cycles namely pro-oestrous and oestrous. Pro-oestrous is the period during which her vulva will be very swollen, she may have a bloody discharge (volume varies greatly) and she will not allow any males to mount her. This is essentially the non-receptive part of her cycle. The second part is known as oestrous. At this point her vulva is still swollen, any bleeding has stopped and most importantly this is the period during which she is receptive to males and will allow mating. It is essential to understand this to avoid unwanted pregnancy. It is only when the bleeding stops that she is in full heat and at her most fertile. Continue reading

My cat has pimples!

Feline AcneFeline acne is a common skin condition in cats. Cats of any age can be affected, and there is no breed or sex predisposition.

Cats are often presented to the veterinarian with the complaint of ‘dirt on the cat’s chin, that the owner cannot remove after attempts to clean it’ or ‘bumps on the cats chin’. Continue reading

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